The fitness of things. Growth and progress of manufacturing interests. The usual results to the manufacturing plant. The unnecessary expense. Value of a comprehensive plan. Progress in construction. The striving of the best. The aim of the Author. Different forms of construction. "Slow burning construction." Special requirements of manufacturing buildings. Wooden beams. Special features. Construction of floors. General rules. Compound beams. Care for the strength of timbers.

The "eternal fitness of things," as well as the spirit of this progressive age, requires that in whatever we design, build, equip, and arrange for the production of our portion of the vast output of the manufactures of the present day, we shall strive to make it the best of its class, and the best adapted for the special uses to which it will be put, the kind of goods or machinery to be manufactured, and the circumstances, conditions, and surroundings under which we are to work.

In a great majority of cases the manufacturing plants of this country have been the result of growth and progress, more or less rapid, of the business which they were designed to accommodate. Often they began with very meager facilities for the work in hand, with poorly designed and cheaply constructed buildings, and all the conveniences and accessories of the plainest kind. As the business enlarged, greater means were available, and necessity demanded, the buildings were gradually added to and their other facilities increased. Buildings were enlarged by increasing their height, by the addition of wings or the erection of separate buildings, often disconnected and scattered, without any apparent plan or consideration of their accessibility or usefulness.

Thus the establishment became an aggregation of buildings of various sizes and forms, requiring much greater expense for handling stock, material, and product, and an unnecessarily large expense for power by which to operate it, and the entire plant often representing in a general way the worst pos-sible arrangement for economically producing work, or for producing really first-class work at all.

At the same time it represented the total expenditure of a much greater amount of capital than would have been necessary to erect and equip good buildings, designed and built in accordance with the best practice, and well suited to the necessities of the business.

It may be said that the necessity for comprehensive plans could not have been foreseen at the early time at which the business was inaugurated; which may be true enough, but if the founders had even moderate faith in their enterprise they must have at least expected that it would, in time, considerably enlarge. Therefore, a general plan might have been made and such part of it erected as would make it easy to enlarge by adding from time to time to what was originally built, but always in conformity with the original plan and in development of it.

It may be said that the modern development of the construction of manufacturing buildings has so changed their character that it would have been impossible for the early builders to have profited by the formulating of one general plan for a plant equal to the growth of the business, and the modern conception of what such buildings should be. This is in some measure true, but it does not excuse the seemingly total lack of foresight exhibited in the construction and arrangement of many of the older buildings for manufacturing purposes.

Consequently there are numerous establishments in this progressive country to-day occupying antiquated and rambling structures that have cost money enough for the building of modern works, properly designed for the economical production of a much higher grade of goods or machinery than could be possible to produce in the old plants.

"The world moves," and nowhere is this more apparent than in manufacturing and the building of machinery. That which would satisfy the manufacturer for the purposes of his business even five or ten years ago is among the "back numbers" of to-day. The constant striving for the best was never more in evidence than at the present time, among our up-to-date manufacturers who are able to look beyond the first cost to the greater advantages to be gained later on.

In view of these conditions and the necessities of these progressive times, it is the aim of the following pages to discuss, from a practical standpoint, what is the best design, arrangement, and construction of manufacturing plants erected for the production of a medium-sized class of machinery, considering the matter from the reception of the raw material to the shipping of the finished product.

With this object in view, engravings showing the general plans for suitable buildings, of a size, form, and capacity for the usual work, arranged in compact form, of modern construction, and supplied with all necessary conveniences and facilities for readily and economically handling the material and product, have been specially designed and drawn to illustrate these chapters.

In addition to the original complete plan, various forms of construction of these and similar buildings are illustrated and described. As, for instance, the so-called "saw-tooth" construction of roofs, which has of late become so popular when one-story shops are to be constructed, and the product is such that large areas of floor surface are desirable, and which this method of construction so admirably lights up.

There is also illustrated and described the so-called "slow-burning construction" of buildings for machine shops and other manufacturing purposes, which are favorites with the insurance companies on account of their well-proven capability of resisting the ravages of fire. They are shown of brick and wood construction, and also those built entirely of wood.

The intention of the author is not to follow the design and construction into the special field of the architect by giving all of the details of construction, minute directions for the various parts of the work, or the mathematical calculations that may be necessary in preparing the detail plans for the actual construction. These things must necessarily be done by the architect in each individual case. Yet where figures are given they will be found practical and sufficient for the purposes intended.

The intention is to give such illustrations and information in reference to the special requirements of machine shops and manufacturing buildings as the architect or structural engineer who has had little or no shop experience may not be familiar with; and also to point out to the manufacturer about to construct new buildings, or to change or to reconstruct old ones, many of the necessary conditions and requirements, and to suggest the proper solution of many of the problems that will naturally arise under such circumstances.